Syndicate content


Appropriate technologies get a boost

Peter Haas and his nonprofit AIDG have an excellent idea to bring low-tech solutions to basic problems of energy, water and sanitation in developing countries. Their first project is a 10-man shop in Guatemala that will build a 40-home microhydroelectric system as part of a UNDP contract. Since the workers are locals, they'll be around to fix it later. Haas envisions a network of self-sustaining businesses that build and repair low-cost technologies. Hats off.

The aid debate in 1,000 words

Mark Doyle from the BBC summarizes the Sachs/Easterly debate in addressing the question: Can aid bring an end to poverty? 

Hilary Benn, Britain's Development Minister, also gets into the discussion. He sticks to the UK's governance line, arguing that government-to-government aid is good for encouraging accountability of recipient governments with their own people.

The economics of vaccine commitments

The Center for Global Development has released a working paper that puts some numbers and momentum behind the G8's advanced market commitment idea for vaccines in developing countries. Sponsors would commit to paying a minimum price per person immunized against common diseases if a vaccine is developed, but they pay nothing upfront.

Aceh Diary: an Indonesian Esperanto

David Lawrence's picture

Indonesia has more than 300 languages spread over its 6,000 inhabited islands. But incredibly, there is a single, national language: bahasa Indonesia, which literally means the language of Indonesia. This is an amazing accomplishment. How did they manage to linguistically unite so many diverse people?

Tanzania: East Africa's best hope?

The Economist this week says Tanzania is an "African country that deserves the money it gets". While still very poor, Tanzania is set for 5.8% GDP growth this year and perhaps 6.7% next. A popular president, former foreign minister Jakaya Kikwete, hopes to build up the country's sparse infrastructure, expand access to drinking water, and improve agricultural productivity.